Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Ash Mill
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005141
Date first listed: 23-May-1957
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Dover (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TR 28217 58191
Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery, 78m ESE of Mill Cottage.
Reasons for Designation
Beginning in the fifth century AD, there is evidence from distinctive burials and cemeteries, new settlements, and new forms of pottery and metalwork, of the immigration into Britain of settlers from northern Europe, bringing with them new religious beliefs. The Roman towns appear to have gone into rapid decline and the old rural settlement pattern to have been disrupted. Although some Roman settlements and cemeteries continued in use, the native Britons rapidly adopted many of the cultural practices of the new settlers and it soon becomes difficult to distinguish them in the archaeological record. So-called Anglo-Saxon cemeteries are dated to the early Anglo-Saxon period, from the fifth to the seventh centuries AD. With the conversion to Christianity during the late sixth and seventh centuries AD, these pagan cemeteries appear to have been abandoned in favour of new sites, some of which have continued in use up to the present day. Burial practices included both inhumation and cremation. Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemeteries consist predominantly of inhumation burials which were placed in rectangular pits in the ground, occasionally within coffins. The bodies were normally accompanied by a range of grave goods, including jewellery and weaponry. The cemeteries vary in size, the largest containing several hundred burials. Around 1000 inhumation cemeteries have been recorded in England. They represent one of our principal sources of archaeological evidence about the Early Anglo-Saxon period, providing information on population, social structure and ideology. All surviving examples, other than those which have been heavily disturbed, are considered worthy of protection.
Despite some disturbance in the past, the Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery 78m ESE of Mill Cottage survives well. The limits of the Anglo-Saxon cemetery are not yet known and as such it retains potential for the recovery of further burials and grave goods. The site will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the cemetery, the material culture of those buried and the landscape prevailing at the time.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 16 March 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes an Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery surviving as buried archaeological remains. It is situated on a south-east facing slope overlooking a tributary of Wingham River at Guilton.
Partial excavation since the mid 18th century has recorded over 100 Anglo-Saxon inhumations, many in stone coffins and including grave goods, and several Romano-British cremation burials. The inhumations largely have their feet to the east although a small number are recorded as having feet to the north. The site has only been part-excavated and the cemetery is likely to contain further, as yet, unrecorded burials. It is thought to date to about the 7th century AD.
The cemetery was discovered in the 18th century when burials were found in the side of a sandpit, prompting excavations by the antiquarian Rev. Bryan Faussett in 1759-60. The results were published, alongside those of other Anglo-Saxon cemeteries, in Charles Roach Smith’s ‘Inventorium Sepulchrale’ of 1856. In six graves, Romano-British cremations had been disturbed and carefully reburied. Further finds were made in the late 18th century, 19th century, and in the mid 20th century. Among the most notable grave goods was a gilt silver sword pommel, dating to about the 6th century, with a runic inscription. In the 1970s a further burial was uncovered 2m below-ground, which contained a female inhumation with part of a necklace and gold brooch. An archaeological watching brief for a sewage pipe across the garden of Guilton Mill in 1987 located a large 18th or 19th century pit but produced no traces of Anglo-Saxon features.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: KE 161
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Ramsay, N, ‘Faussett, Bryan (1720–1776)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , accessed 6 March 2010 from http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/9214
Kent HER TR25NE6. NMR TR25NE6. PastScape 466257.
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing